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Reliable House Surveys: Why Do They Matter and What Level Do You Need?

A house survey can seem like an unnecessary expense that can be compensated by extra vigilance, but that’s far from the case. Unless you’re a real estate expert yourself, there are far too many things that you could potentially miss that a professional home buyer’s survey or a building survey will identify. Property surveyors go through extensive training to know what to look out for, and spending the extra money on one is well worth it in every case. Here is a brief overview of the process.

Do You Need a House Survey at All?

Do you even need a homebuyer survey or even something more advanced in the first place? The answer is “yes” pretty much every time. No matter how much you might think you know about the property or the seller, you are taking on a huge financial risk if you make this commitment without using professional chartered surveying services to make sure that everything is in order. In fact, prior knowledge like that can spoil your opinion and make you blind to certain red flags. When working on their clients’ buildings, surveyors don’t have this burden and they can evaluate each project from a fresh perspective.

House Survey Levels

There are three general levels of RICS surveying. While a level 1 survey should suffice for most people’s needs, you might sometimes need to take a deeper look at the current state of things, which is where higher levels come in handy. When working with a surveyor, RICS (The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has a set of established guidelines and standards that ensure the process will be reliable and consistent. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a house surveyor in Norwich or anywhere else – you’ll know that you can expect a certain standard of quality.

  • Level 1: in a level 1 home survey, the property surveyor examines the most basic properties of the building and checks to ensure that there are no obvious issues with structural integrity and other similar factors. One downside to this level is that it won’t dig into specific issues in a lot of detail, so when something does get identified, it’s up to you to follow up on that for more information.
  • Level 2: a level 2 home survey is also known as a homebuyer survey; this is the most commonly used level among the average buyer. It includes all services provided in a level 1 survey, but also adds extra evaluation of your roof and cellar. These surveys may also come with some rough budget estimates for fixing issues that were uncovered.
  • Level 3: a very thorough survey in which property valuers perform a full structural evaluation of the building and note any corresponding issues in detail. This level is recommended when purchasing older buildings due to the many unique risks they carry – usually over 50 years old. It includes a detailed assessment of not only discovered issues, but also potentially hidden ones that could be inferred from the current state of the building. You will also get a comprehensive overview of all repairs that must be performed on the building, and the potential risks associated with ignoring each problem.

When in doubt, talk to an expert who can guide you through your choice. Remember that you might not always be aware of the full range of potential problems associated with a specific building, and you shouldn’t assume that things are okay just because there have been no obvious complications until now.